Rated PG-13 for thematic elements and brief strong language.
Directed By: Kirk Jones
Written By: Kirk Jones, Massimo De Rita
Starring: Robert De Niro, Drew Barrymore, Kate Beckinsale, Sam Rockwell, Katherine Moening, James Frain, Bendan Sexton III
Most holiday films that come to mind are heartwarming, cheery and even a bit silly. Everybody’s Fine is not truly a holiday film, it just happens to come out during this time of year and have a small portion of it that relates to the holidays. What you have in reality is a drama/comedy/road movie. Usually these types of films have not always panned out so well. Luckily Robert De Niro is fantastic in this role. The rest of the cast is great as well, in fact they compliment each other so well they are very believable as brothers and sisters.
Imagine a sixty year old man whose daily uniform consists of wearing comfortable Rockport walking shoes a Members Only style jacket and slacks and you will have a good understanding of De Niro’s character Frank. The audience can relate to him as a widower who is retired and living alone who spends most of his time working on the yard and is having to come to terms with the idea that he is going to spend the remainder of his life without his wife. His four kids are all grown up and when they decide to not visit him as planned for a weekend he decides to take to the road to visit each of them in one big trip.
Because of his ailing health he is forced to travel by bus and train for the entire trip at the orders of his doctor. His goal for the trip is to check up on everyone and make sure that his kids are happy and try to rekindle the relationship with his kids after years of focusing on work. Imagine feeling alone, isolated and regretting not building a relationship with your children and you may have an idea of what Frank feels like in this film.
I really loved the cinematography, there are some great shots during Frank’s cross country travels via train and bus. It has a sense of taking the audience on the open road as well which is fun. I love watching movies road movies because it makes me want to get in my car and drive and experience road side eateries and small secluded towns. The characters that Frank encounters along his journey are very unique which brings a nice touch to the film. Be prepared to be emotional while watching this film so you may want to have your tissues ready.
The Bottom Line:
Everybody’s Fine will take you on your own emotional journey if you let. I say let it, drive into it head on knowing that you will experience one of the most real, touching holiday films. I think you will agree that this film will have you doing some introspection on your own life which is a perfect thing. Just remember your family and friends are always there for you. It’s the law during the holidays.